Being involved in a car accident can be a traumatic experience no matter what the circumstances are. It is important to do the best you can to stay calm and follow these simple tips. The below tips are intended for the vast majority of auto-accidents not involving serious physical injury:
- Stay Calm and Do Not Admit Fault: Arizona is a comparative fault state meaning that liability is distributed among all persons involved in the accident based on what percent each person is at fault. As a result, it is important not to admit fault as there may have been circumstances regarding the other driver that contributed to the accident. Obviously, if the accident clearly is your fault it is okay to admit it in fairness to the other driver and so any insurance claims get promptly resolved; however, if there is any question or you are unsure…don’t do it!
- Exchange Information with Other Driver: For any accident involving injury or vehicle damage, Arizona law requires that at a minimum you provide your name, address, and vehicle registration number. It is important to wait for law enforcement to arrive to make sure all duties are complied with prior to leaving the scene.
- Take Pictures: As your claim is presented to the other parties’ insurance company and possibly litigated, photos taken while at the scene can be extremely helpful in describing the accident. It is important to take photos of the areas of damage of not just your car but any other vehicle involved in the collision.
- Gather Witness Information: If there are any potentially favorable witnesses on the scene, gather their contact information as they may be able to help you out later on.
- Contact the Police: If there is any meaningful property damage, police will fill out an accident report and write a brief narrative of what they believe happened after talking to everyone involved. This accident report will provide an initial opinion about who is at fault based on the officer’s observations and discussions. The police may also cite one or more involved persons based on this liability determination. Even if your car does not need a tow, remain on the scene until the police tell you it is okay to leave and provide the report number.
- Do Not Delay Getting Necessary Medical Treatment: If you suffered any physical injuries whatsoever, even if it is slight discomfort, it is important to have a medical exam to confirm what if any treatment is necessary. Do not delay as insurance companies may use a delay in treatment as a way to minimize your injuries.
- Contact an Attorney: I hate to make a plug here, but I cannot stress it enough how helpful the right attorney can be in an accident case. Some people do not properly realize what they are entitled to and the information needed to correctly process a claim with insurance and/or litigate it. Call an attorney to make sure you are doing everything correctly.
If you or somebody you know is involved in a car accident, call attorney Matt Maerowitz at 602-912-5897 for a free consultation.
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